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Devra First on Bar Boulud; MC Slim JB on Bel Ari; More

Here's what the critics are saying this week.

Bar Boulud
Bar Boulud
Katie Chudy for Eater

The brand new Bar Boulud earns two stars out of four ("good") in the latest Globe review from Devra First, who finds that the "food and service are uneven." While the restaurant's original New York location provides "a casual stop-in for culture vultures," it became "the star of the social season" when it arrival was announced here in Boston. "This is as close as we come to chefs who name restaurants after themselves and seem more justified than egomaniacal." But it doesn't quite live up to expectations when the heralded charcuterie is served "as chilly as a slice of ice cream cake," the pumpkin cavatelli is "one of those dishes that makes vegetarians wish they had just stayed home," and the blood sausage is "barely cooked, actively bloody, like something out of a slasher flick." Dishes that did work for First include the spaghetti au citron and boudin blanc, as well as madeleines for dessert.

Also for the Globe, Catherine Smart takes the "Cheap Eats" column to Winthrop this week, reviewing Osaka Lucky Garden. It's the place to go "when you unapologetically crave Americanized beef and broccoli, or General Gao's chicken, and a spicy tuna roll on the side." Plus, "the tiki drinks are tasty." Smart concludes that it's "not the place to come for authentic, regional Chinese specialties," but if you're looking for those classic take-out dishes, served with "a friendly neighborhood feel," this is your place.

And for the Globe's weekly "Quick Bite" overview, Kara Baskin visits the newly opened La Victoria Taqueria in Arlington and finds "a Norman Rockwell portrait, styled by Patagonia." Be prepared for a wait at the busy, family-oriented place. Baskin recommends the choriqueso, "a savory combination of smoky sausage, Oaxaca cheese, vegetables, black bean puree, and chipotle mayonnaise."

MC Slim JB reviews the reincarnated Sorriso, now Bel Ari, for The Improper Bostonian, describing it as "a bit of a puzzle." While it has "good bones" and "good genes," along with a "fresh-faced and eager to please" waitstaff, the experience ends up being "maddeningly uneven." For one of "the most reliable doses of joy," try the small plates, like the "delectably crisp and airy" semolina cakes or the "surprisingly satisfying" lobster mac. Unfortunately, the entrees are "decidely iffier." He concludes that the restaurant "has many of the elements that it needs to succeed," from "concept" to "talent" and beyond, but it needs to find some consistency first.

Bar Boulud Boston

776 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02199 (617) 535-8800 Visit Website

Lucky Garden

513-529 Shirley St, Winthrop, MA 02152 (617) 846-8560

Bel Ari

107 South St, Boston, MA 02111 (617) 259-1560 Visit Website

La Victoria Taqueria

12 Medford Street, , MA 02474 (781) 859-5503 Visit Website